||A Rendezvous with
Ajanta & Ellora
near Aurangabad in Maharashtra, Ajanta and Ellora are cave shrines cut out
of rock by hand. The exquisitely cut images in the caves are some of the
most outstanding specimen of ancient Indian art forms. Though carved out
thousands of years ago, these images still emanate an unimitable mesmerizing
aura. The stunning art forms of the caves reflect the essence of three great
religions - Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The caves of Ajanta are located
100 km northeast of Ellora caves. The remarkable caves were designated as a
World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1983.
» The Ajanta Caves :
Ajanta & Ellora
The Ajanta caves were
discovered in a very dramatic fashion in the year 1819 when a group of
British army officers went for hunting in the jungles of the place. The
Ajanta group of caves lie deep within the Sahyadri hills above the Waghora
river. The art forms inside the 30 caves depict the story of Buddhism
spanning a period from 200 BC to 650 AD. It is believed that Buddhist monks
who taught and performed rituals in the Chaityas and Viharas created these
art forms to enhance their knowledge and impart lessons to their disciples.
It is interesting to note that all the impressive figures have been carved
out using simple tools like hammer and chisel. Many of the caves have panels
depicting stories from the Jatakas that consist of many tales regarding the
several incarnations of the Buddha. Apart from various other images, those
of nymphs and princesses have also been elaborately portrayed.
» Ellora Caves :
The Ellora caves total 34 in number
and have been carved into the sides of a hill of basalt. The Ellora caves
are regarded as the finest specimen of cave-temple architecture anywhere in
the world. The 12 caves to the south are Buddhist (AD 600-800), 17 in the
centre belong to Hinduism (AD 900) and 5 caves to the north are dedicated to
Jainism (AD 800-1000). The sculptures in the Buddhist caves are an attempt
at depicting the nobility, grace and serenity inherent in the Buddha. The
caves belonging to Hinduism are dedicated to Vishwakarma, the patron saint
of Indian craftsmen. The Vishvakarma cave also has Buddha placed in the
stupa. Its two-storied structure sports a colorful pageant of dwarfs,
dancing and making music. The caves of Ajanta and Ellora are a marvel of
rock art forms in caves. A visit to the caves would be an enchanting
Ajanta & Ellora
the exotic caves at Aurangabad you can head for Mumbai - the city of dreams
and Bollywood. Other nearby attractions which you should not miss are - Pune
and Nasik. Mumbai has plethora of options for enthusiastic tourists, right
from shopping malls to Chor Bazaar, from enthralling beaches to
entertainment parks, discs to the Bollywood Studios - everyone finds some
||Most Ideal Time to
The best time to visit the caves of Ajanta and Ellora would be the
October-March period. Temperature in the area might rise up to 40 degrees
during the summer months of April-June. The November-January winter period
experiences chilly weather and night temperatures might fall to 5 degrees.
But travelling in India under the winter sun is always a pleasant
» By Air :
Aurangabad Airport (99 km from
Ajanta and 30 km from Ellora) is the ideal base to visit Ajanta and Ellora
for the air travellers. The airport is directly linked to Delhi, Udaipur,
Jaipur, and Mumbai. But from Aurangabad, one has to either board a train to
Jalgaon (59 km from the cave sites) or book a car to reach the destination.
One can also hire a car or auto rickshaw from the Jalgaon railhead.
» By Rail :
There are frequent rail services between
Mumbai and Aurangabad, the nearest big city from the cave sites. Mumbai is
about 403 km from Aurangabad. Trains like Devgiri and Tapovan Express
operate daily in evening and morning between the two cities. Aurangabad is
also directly linked to Pune. Jalgaon, a railhead on the Central Railways
line, is 59 kilometers from Ajanta. Direct trains are also available to
Aurangabad from New Delhi and Hyderabad.
» By Bus :
Regular tourist bus services are
available to the cave sites of Ajanta and Ellora caves from Aurangabad. This
includes air conditioned deluxe bus services. The excellent road network in
Maharashtra links the caves of Ajanta and Ellora with Mumbai, Pune,
Ahmednagar, Jalgaon, Shirdi, Nasik, Dhule, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Indore,
Bijapur, and Aurangabad.
||Anchoring in Ajanta
we tend to club the caves together, Ajanta and Ellora are actually two
different cave clusters with a distance of about 100 km seperating them.
Furthermore, Ellora is only 30 km from Aurangabad, while Ajanta is about 100
km. Our tours have the option of covering both the destinations in a single
day for a fulfilling experince of beholding the mesmeric caves and the
intricate carvings - one of the best man ever created.
Proper accommodation is available in the town of Aurangabad. The
place has all categories of accommodation available- budget, mid-range and
top-end hotels. Though some form of accommodation is also available in
villages and towns nearer to the cave sites, the services may not be up to